John Navke: Suspended jail term for South West man who punched partner in head seven times on Christmas

Melissa PedeltyManjimup-Bridgetown Times
John Navke was issued a six month suspended imprisonment term in Manjimup Magistrates Court last Thursday.
Camera IconJohn Navke was issued a six month suspended imprisonment term in Manjimup Magistrates Court last Thursday. Credit: Ben Loughran/Manjimup Bridgetown Times

A man who punched his partner seven times to the head while she was sleeping in the early hours of Christmas morning after drinking and becoming jealous of a Facebook post has been issued a suspended prison term for the assault.

On Thursday at Manjimup Magistrates Court, John Navke pleaded guilty to aggravated common assault against his 25-year-old partner.

The court was told the incident occurred at 1.30am on December 25 in the 50-year-old Vanuatuan man’s bedroom, where the victim was sleeping after going to bed shortly after dinner about 9.30pm on Christmas Eve.

The court was told Navke — whose visa expires in November — had been heavily drinking throughout the day and became jealous of a Facebook post created by the victim earlier that day.

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Navke entered the bedroom and punched the victim in the head with his right fist.

The court was told the victim was pleading with Navke to explain the violence when he further punched her six times to the head and pushed her on to the bed.

The victim managed to escape and ran out of the house in only a bra and jeans.

She later attended hospital before attending the police station to make a formal complaint.

Police later arrested Navke, who declined to comment in his interview. He was released on protective bail.

Duty lawyer Ryan Shea submitted a letter from Navke’s employer speaking of his good work ethic and his commitment to helping fellow Vanuatuans integrate into life in Australia.

Mr Shea said Navke was not a heavy drinker usually and did not remember the incident well.

Magistrate Tanya Watt said the offence was too serious to simply issue a fine and emphasised the importance of issuing a penalty that deterred others from similar offending.

Ms Watt issued Navke a six month suspended term of imprisonment and emphasised to Navke that any criminal charges within that time frame would result in Navke serving his jail term in a prison cell.

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